Global Focus Epidemic: Here’s Why Most of Us Are Mentally Distracted All the Time

What happens when you are focused?

A person wearing a black jacket and cap with blonde hair sitting and looking at something. It is a clear day.
Photo by Pietro Tebaldi on Unsplash


If you walk along the roads, at the cafe, subway, or airport — one common sight is how average people seem distracted. Everyone is physically there but many faces have a dazed look as though their mind is somewhere else.

After being a proficient driver, I have stopped driving cars or bikes in the last decade. Because I observe many drivers are distracted and sometimes even I am. A crucial life skill that I had honed through training and practice is now rusty. I prefer to hop onto public transport instead.

In Patanjali’s Yogasutra this state is called Vikshepa — the wandering mind. It is an epidemic because it has afflicted people the world over. Today, you can effortlessly get distracted. There are too many forces at play.

Vikshepa is an impediment.

I have worked in manufacturing plants and manage one now. I can draw parallels between Vikshepa and a machine setup time. If you have to frequently stop production and reset the machines, it will throttle your output. Eventually, it will eat into your bottom line. And your competitors will have a leg up on you.

Resetting the machines take time. A time when you are not being productive. You are not getting paid for it.

So, if you are not making progress in life or are too distracted to even notice that; you need to work on your distraction.

Your eye is not on the target.

You are not achieving your true potential.

You are wasting your life and one day it will be too late to turn around.

Not only must you work on your long-term focus but even the short-term one too.

Why are we always distracted?

Losing focus is easy. Effortless. But expensive.

Though technology has made our lives better in uncountable ways, the downside is an intrusion. There are no boundaries.

AI and ML ensure that social media has our “continuous” undivided attention pulling us down the rabbit hole. A ping on your smartphone is enough to distract you.

I feel ashamed to say that at times I look at my WhatsApp screen and think hard with whom was I going to connect.


When I had picked up the phone to do the intended task I got distracted by some other alert and then I became Alice.

Smartphones have a silent mode option or ‘do-not-disturb’ but many of us refrain from using them.



Fear of missing out is a negative offshoot of this highly connected world.

People at work are another source of distraction. Since we have phones at our disposal and a plethora of messaging apps, everyone wants to ask a question NOW. Everyone expects us to answer NOW.

Is it really necessary?

Can’t you send an email and let the other person respond as per their convenience or priority.

I have been following Arianna Huffington’s posts on sleep for years. She makes a valid and critical argument.

Many of us due to our family circumstances, type of work, or personal choice tend to go into a ‘sleep debt’.

Some professions have prescribed work hours after which the person must be taken off duty or given rest. The total work hour rules in factories are stringent. Imagine what kind of disaster might strike if the person dozes off while operating a machine.

Think of pilots getting inadequate sleep. Forget it. Don’t even think.

I have observed how my body and mind slow down after a few days of late nights and early mornings. Completing simple tasks become challenging. The only way out is to catch up on the lost sleep and recalibrate my body. Meanwhile few days are lost in unproductive work. I will never get them back!

Try and observe how your mind finds it difficult to focus without rest and starts getting distracted. Then you start making mistakes or take longer to complete a simple task.

Food habits, nutrition, a balanced diet, and the importance of exercising are taught to children in school. There is a purpose. They are not fillers.

Time for some basic science lessons.

When you eat proper food at the right time, your blood sugar levels are maintained. This in turn affects hormones that influence your mood.

If you have low sugar also known as hypoglycemia, you might feel confused or disoriented. Concentration is difficult in such conditions.

Ideally, you should eat in small quantities every few hours to maintain your blood sugar levels.

To know more, you can read this post.

Why do I have poor dietary habits?

I would say any or all of the 3 reasons:

  • Inability to cook nutritious meals
  • Lack of time to cook so depend on takeaway or off-the-shelf stuff
  • Lack of funds to buy proper food

There are always distractions around us but you have to fight them if you want to make progress.

You have power over your mind — not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength. ~ Marcus Aurelius

What happens when you are not distracted?

When you cut through the noise and remain focused as myriad distractions come your way, you are poised to achieve great things.

When I am not scrolling through my phone or watching a random website on my laptop, I manage to complete the task at hand faster. And make fewer mistakes.

That leaves me with extra free time to pursue anything else that I want. Anything of value.

Another advantage is that a cleaner to-do list means less mental clutter. A freer mind allows me to sleep better.

Focus is important.

Focus while doing the job at hand. Focus when trying to assess our performance, and weaknesses and identify how to overcome them.

Often many of you might be worried about change. A change that affects your social or work life. Faced with a need to learn new ways of doing things can rock your boat of comfort.

Take it from me, it is a surmountable mountain.

All you need is to do is set an intent, draw a roadmap and go about acquiring those skills without getting distracted by pointless activities.

Instead of trying to justify why you cannot do something, set your heart and soul on achieving it.

When you are not distracted by negative thoughts that question your caliber or intent, you will end up acquiring new skills.

Your self-worth will improve. People will want to associate with you.

You will be picked up by different cross-functional teams at your workplace.

Your colleagues will look up to your participation or association in new projects.

If you want to create a new revenue stream or try out a new career choice, your new skills will help you make progress.

Armed with these skills you will see the world opening up to you with new opportunities. You never know when your life will change for the better.

But if you are distracted, you will miss all the bright and glowing direction signs of chance.

In the End

The saddest thing in life will be not living up to your potential. All because you are too distracted to focus on your goals and your purpose.

Luckily, distractions can be countered, quashed, or obliterated.

Only if you want and try.

A distracted existence leads us to no goal.

~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

What do you want to do about your distractions?

I write about small businesses, health, and life as I see it on Medium, LinkedIn, and my website.



𝘈𝘶𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘪𝘤𝘪𝘵𝘺, 𝘷𝘶𝘭𝘯𝘦𝘳𝘢𝘣𝘪𝘭𝘪𝘵𝘺, 𝘢𝘸𝘢𝘳𝘦𝘯𝘦𝘴𝘴 & 𝘨𝘳𝘰𝘸𝘵𝘩 𝘵𝘩𝘳𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩 𝘴𝘵𝘰𝘳𝘺𝘵𝘦𝘭𝘭𝘪𝘯𝘨, 𝘴𝘩𝘢𝘳𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘰𝘧 𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘴𝘰𝘯𝘢𝘭 𝘦𝘹𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘪𝘦𝘯𝘤𝘦𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘬𝘯𝘰𝘸𝘭𝘦𝘥𝘨𝘦 𝘰𝘯 𝘴𝘱𝘪𝘳𝘪𝘵𝘶𝘢𝘭 𝘮𝘢𝘵𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘴.

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Ipshita Guha

Writing to find myself to create a new self | Linkedin:/ipshitabasuguha | Twitter:@ipshitaguha